Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Night Sky: A Journey From Dachau to Denver and Back
About the book:
Maria Sutton's memoir, The Night Sky is the culmination of her forty-three year search for her father. Without knowing the spelling of her father's name, or his date and place of birth, Maria was able to find him - proving that with unwavering determination, anything is possible.
My first thoughts after finishing: "This was a powerful and moving journey...well done!"
I like to read a memoir that speaks to me on some level and after perusing the information Maria sent me and doing a bit of research of my own, confirmed that this was one I had to read. I picked it up right after I finished The Lost Wife, which was a book that wounded me to the soul. I thought it fitting that I would read more about the affects of WWII on people who survived the war but now found themselves labeled as a Displaced Person. Maria's mother is really a strong woman and I know that throughout the book she greatly downplayed and even tried to distance herself from her experience. She was put into horrible conditions and had to make crucial and heart wrenching decisions that would impact not only herself, but her two young daughters. I was amazed at the tenacity and perseverance that Maria exhibited as she began her forty-year long quest to find the answers to questions and to get a family history that could slightly resemble her own husband's. I enjoyed reading about the methods that Maria used to find her information and couldn't believe the amount of red tape and just plain old waiting that she experienced.
I am always amazed at how little I truly know about this time period and once again loved how I learned new facts about the war. I had never heard of the massacre in the Katyn Forest of Poland. I learned more about Stalin's rule reading this book than I ever did from high school history class. I loved learning about Poland and the Ukraine and WWII from Maria's mother's perspective.
My emotional moment while reading this book was the story of Maria's Uncle Wasyl. I was thrilled that about the outcome of her search for him, yet at the same time it quite literally broke my heart.
I highly recommend this book to those that enjoy memoirs and moving family stories. Maria has taken a snapshot of the life of displaced persons and shown us their trials and within that story she has also found her identity.
Author: Maria Sutton
Source: review copy courtesy of author
Published: 2011 Johnson Books
Disclaimer:Thank you to Maria Sutton for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MYexperience while reading this novel.
Review Book #2
© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Posted by Staci at 5:00 AM
Labels: Book Review, Memoirs
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This sounds like a very intense and painful story.ReplyDelete
I know it was a painful one for the author when she was finally able to reconcile herself to the fact of what kind of man her biological father really was.Delete
This sounds AMAZING!!! :):):):):):):):):):):)ReplyDelete
It was a great story, Julie!Delete
Sounds like a perfect follow-up to The Lost Wife!ReplyDelete
It really was JoAnn...gave me another perspective on the Displaced Persons aspect of the war.Delete
I can't wait to read this book! I learned about the Katyn massacre last year reading The Katyn Order by Douglas W. Jacobson, which I thought was excellent. I love how these memoirs teach us so much more than we ever learned in school. Will add your review to War Through the Generations.ReplyDelete
I'll have to look up The Kaytn Order review of yours. I'm always blown away by new nuggets of information.Delete
Hmm...I think my comment was eaten, so I'm trying again.ReplyDelete
I can't wait to read this book! I learned about the Katyn massacre last year when I read The Katyn Order by Douglas W. Jacobson, which I thought was excellent. I love how these memoirs teach us more than we ever learned in school. Will add your review to War Through the Generations.
I think I read a review of this book on another blog and thought it sounded very good. I'll have to put it on my list. I love the fact that you learned so much from it, Staci.ReplyDelete
That is what I love so much about reading and sharing our stories!!!Delete
Lovely review! It is sometimes hard to find memoirs that "speak" to us personally!ReplyDelete
I know...there are so many out there and this one appealed to me because of her researching her ancestry which I do for my family! I couldn't imagine never knowing who my father was or not being able to see at least one photo of him.Delete
I am awed by what people survived. I am not sure I know about the massacre, and I am off to research it.ReplyDelete
There are so many different sides to the story and so many ethnic groups that were persecuted! I am in awe of the survivors too!Delete
Sounds good, since it is real and that always have another effect on me in the endReplyDelete
The 'real' stories impact me immensely...I feel drawn to some of them.Delete
I like reading about this time period. It's quite the roller-coaster ride on the emotions. But this one sounds interesting. So many new things to learn.ReplyDelete
Life is so filled with those roller-coaster moments!! It was a solid story!Delete
I have this one too and now that I read your review I can't wait to start it!ReplyDelete
I'll be sure to stop by Laura when you post your review of this one! Hope you enjoy it.Delete
would love to read this inspirational story...thanks for the chance :)ReplyDelete
kmkuka at yahoo dot com
This sounds like just the kind of memoir's I adore...I want these inspirational stories to live on.ReplyDelete
Great review Staci. To read again what people had to live through broke my heart. I wish I had the patience and skill as Maria did to research my family. My favorite moment, like you, was when Julia and Wasyl were able to meet again. I'm so glad they got that chance.ReplyDelete
I love how I've learnt far more from memoirs or historical fiction reads than I ever did from dry old history lessons in school. This sounds like one I'd enjoy. Thanks Staci :)ReplyDelete
As I read this book it made me think about the degree to which we may all project our wishes and expectations onto the people in our lives rather seeing them for who they really are. It's not just long lost family that we "make up" in our heads. I think we do that with current loved ones as well.ReplyDelete